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View Poll Results: The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was

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  • The ultimate crime against humanity

    12 32.43%
  • A serious war crime because US had other options

    9 24.32%
  • An unethical act of war although US needed to check USSR

    0 0%
  • An inferior choice although US had few other options

    1 2.70%
  • Justified because it saved many US & Japanese lives

    7 18.92%
  • Entirely justified because Japan would not surrender without it

    8 21.62%
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Thread: Dropping the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Only ten responses? (Seven replies?)... I thought this would be a much more controversial and interesting topic on this forum.

    We are talking about the only use of a nuclear weapon against a civillian population ever. Talk about WMD's. The US has them, has used them and uses the rumor of their presence to invade another sovereign nation.
    I keep trying to respond but these attempts are by nature lengthy. Each time I start, my 'puter pukes on me or the 'Net pukes, or something goes "ka-blooey" and all my cogent prose goes down the toilet.

    I will try again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooter452
    I keep trying to respond but these attempts are by nature lengthy. Each time I start, my 'puter pukes on me or the 'Net pukes, or something goes "ka-blooey" and all my cogent prose goes down the toilet.

    I will try again.
    lol... nuclear gremlins.

    I'm watching The Final Battle on DTMS- it asks the question: Was the dropping of the atomic bombs necessary? Hmmmm. Comment to follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shooter452
    I keep trying to respond but these attempts are by nature lengthy. Each time I start, my 'puter pukes on me or the 'Net pukes, or something goes "ka-blooey" and all my cogent prose goes down the toilet.
    I will try again.
    I've experienced that myself. I have lost hours of work; when I say "preview," my explorer loses the connection, and my unsaved text in the reply window is gone forever. That is if I forget to make a back up right before clicking "preview." It must be the way local carriers are trimming seemingly loose clients after a certain period; maybe 30 mins or 1 hr. Save, save, save, as vigillence is the price of liberty.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
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    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    I used to be appalled by the inhumanity of dropping such a horrendous weapon- especially on the targets that were chosen, and I still am. But I was born twenty years after the event, and the context of WWII has to be taken into consideration.
    I am interested that your views had shifted from one to another; well so have mine, although in opposite directions. I wonder what might have been the turning point for you. Well, to speak for myself, getting to know a couple of Japanese persons came first. I would say that was a positive thing for me because they were really nice people. Then watching Japanese film/anime like Akira and Gojira gave me a sense of what might be working in the minds of these Japanese artists. Not that anybody said anything, but I began to see the inhumanity of the bombing. But that's only me.
    I think this is important because people tend to forget how nasty an implement this was. I think when people see that 9000 Iraqi civillians were killed in the invasion, they shrug those lives off. When the US continues to spend more money on better nuclear technology even without the Soviet threat, when military spending far outstrips humanitarian aid, when the former Soviet Union can't even account for half of its bombs and material, that this is an important issue.
    To "forget" and to "shrug those lives off" is probably not an act of free will. I suspect, well again speaking for myself, firstly "ignorance," and secondly, the inability to process any decision because it is beyond my scope and too overwhelming. You do understand that "ignorance" and "being overwhelmed" are not contradictory, btw. Important yes, but that's a formal decision only, a kind of passive admission that it "should be important," not necessarily that I realize the magnitude of its true significance. It probably will take me time and other things for that to happen. I don't know about others, though....
    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    So someone should chime in and set me straight. American imperialists like me that justify the incineration of a hundred thousand civillians in the name of peace deserve to be taken to task- especially by those who were targeted by this atrocious act.
    Why do you wish to be criticized? I'm sure it's not because you enjoy the excitement of heated debates or winning an argument. Curiosity, of course we are all curious beings, but that also counts out as the primary reason. So why?

    As a matter of fact, you raised an important point that I tend to agree to.
    Why are there no Japanese flags in this thread, or the previous one?
    Is it a language thing? Do you think if we posted a Japanese version of the poll somewhere, it will get some reasonable number of responses from Japanese individuals? But I thought we had many Japanese members already. Should we try the Japanese subforum? Or even somewhere else? Or is it too remote, timewise, or taboo for our Japanese members to talk about these things?

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    Wow, I just realized that there are no Japanese flags here. I would be definitely interested in those particular thoughts. There are many nihonjin that post in English. I need to hear from them.

    I'm definitely torn between an idealism of what "should be" and the reality of what "was". Truman had in his posession a device of nearly inconceivable destructive power that would inflict maximum casualties on enemy civillians with little or no risk to American lives. I could, in all probability, end the war. This was the reality sixty years ago.

    The documentary I watched the other night argued that millions would have died if the war continued. Russia would have entered the war and taken Asian territories. The Japanese would have murdered tens of thousands of POW's and hundreds of thousands of civillian prisoners. A million Japanese civillians and soldiers would have been stranded in China. The destruction in Japan would have been far more complete. Japan would have probably ceased to be a nation. And so the bombing was justified because of the outcome.

    It is far too easy, having benefitted from that outcome (My uncles and father would have been involved in the invasion of Japan) with sixty years behind me to point the finger and say "bad." I have to look at the decision in context and realize that it was the only reasonable one the President could make.

    And this is the source of my conflict: The ends justifies the means. Bad historical precedence in my opinion. I don't believe civillians should ever be targeted. Aerial indiscriminate bombing nuclear or otherwise-- should be a war crime. But that is what we did-- in the last "good" war.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Only ten responses? (Seven replies?)... I thought this would be a much more controversial and interesting topic on this forum.
    Well, in my case (and probably the case with several other people also) I've had lengthy, heated debates about this in the past that were very draining and, although I'm very passionate about the issue, I just don't want to get into it again.

    Anything I would say, would just be expanding on what I've already said.

    Targeting civilians to achieve a military/political goal is just NOT OK. The ends DON'T justify the means.
    That statement really sums up my feelings on the issue.
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    Only ten responses? (Seven replies?)... I thought this would be a much more controversial and interesting topic on this forum.
    I thought the same thing. I've actually been pondering what to write but I always end up with a huge essay I think is crap. So, here it is in one sentence:

    It wasn't necessary, but it was inevitable.

    Seriously, there are lots of good sources out there supporting that 1) Japan was ready to surrender, and 2) that it wasn't. I've been to Hiroshima, and even talked to a survivor. (Thanks to Kansai Gaidai's Prof. Scott.)
    Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.

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    I would definitely like to visit Hiroshima one day.

    I am unaware of sources that indicate that Japan was willing to surrender before August 1945. The Potsdam declaration remained unaswered and the war continued unabated. The military continued to prepare for Japan's invasion, and to develop new weaponry.

    The day before the surrender there was an attempted coup by jr. army officers at the palace to prevent the surender. Even after the bombs, there were those in Japan that were unwilling to accept defeat.

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    Sabro,

    If you're really interested I'd be happy to go dig them up for you. When I was at Kansai Gaidai, we were given the following essay question: "Would you have dropped the bomb?" Suffice to say, it sparked alot of debate, especially when the whole class went to Hiroshima and listened to Mrs. Yamaoka speak. (The survivor.) Alot of good material was brought up by both sides of the argument.

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    A trip might do good...

    You know what, I think we could all benefit from a trip to Hiroshima or Nagasaki someday.
    Without the real link, I have a feeling that I might get drained like Brooker said earlier. What did you feel about the lady, mad pierrot?

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    The dropping of the bombs continue to be a hell of a thorny issue to this day, especially since it inadvertantly led to nearly fifty years of terrifying fear of Mutually Assured Destruction afterward, thanks to the Cold War. While 150,000 lives were lost, and that can never be forgotten, the death toll could've been many times higher if Allied forces had invaded the home islands while the Japanese Army was intent on fighting to the death. Such a battle might've made Okinawa look like a back alley brawl by comparison. Even though I'm retired military (Navy), I wish the bombs hadn't been dropped. While I don't excuse the decision to have done so, I can understand the terrible rationale.
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    What did you feel about the lady, mad pierrot?
    Depressed. Really, really depressed. She was practically in ground zero, actually, and only barely survived. (She was rescued by her mother from under a pile of rubble.) Her neck had melted into her shoulder, and her fingers were stuck together. She's had surgery over 8 times, I think, to repair the physical damage, she's part blind, also deaf in one ear, and has malignant cancer. She spoke in Japanese (there was a translator) and I was just starting to learn Japanese when I went to see her, but I understood some. I'll never forget when she said "Jigoku mita." ("I saw hell.") She went on to describe bodies clogging the rivers, people with their guts falling out, etc. (She also said she can't eat sausage anymore after seeing what she saw.) All in all, I felt like sh*t for days after hearing her talk. On the other hand, it was inspiring to hear her say she doesn't hate America or hold anything against the US for dropping the bomb.

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    Maciamo-- I hope no one ever has to suffer like that again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    Japan had already been given ultimatums and had refused to surrender in spite of hundreds of thousands of civillian deaths. The potsdam declaration, leaflet drops and radio broadcasts calling for surrender were all ignored-- and dozens of Japanese cities were firebombed- killing far more civillians than the atomic bomb. If burning Tokyo to the ground didn't work, then why would bombing some deserted island work?

    This is arse. Japan was already seeking to surrender when the first was dropped, and the second was dropped out of scientific curiosity. Both were not needed. Japan already knew the war was lost at this point. As for the fire bombing of Tokyo, that was another horrific act by the Americans at the time. But it was also a lot earlier in the war, when there was still a chance of, if not victory, of a favourable peace treaty.

    To say the massacre of hundreads of thousands of civillians was in any way justified is horrific.
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    I also hear that Japan had already tried to surrender before the first bomb was dropped, and the second was dropped out of scientific curiousity. That and the fire bombing of Tokyo were horrendous things to do. There is no justification for it. Japan was finished, even if it wouldn't surrender, it had lost the means to fight in any meaningful way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    I don't think carpet bombing of cities helped the war effort very much. For what I know, it may have even strengthened morale of the population. Industrial production didn't really suffer that much, either. In the 2nd half of 1944 German production of war related materials was higher than ever.

    Indiscriminate carpet bombing was not really effective. Selective bombing of eg. railroads & oil refineries was much more efficient.
    In fact, it did. In Europe, an RAF squadron accidentally droped thier bombs on a civillian city after becoming lost. This led to the Germans bombing civillians in England as retaliation. The fact that many more bombing raids attacked citys rather than military targets actually helped the industrial/millitary infrastructure survive. Without this, Britain would have been defeated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NagoyaIan
    I also hear that Japan had already tried to surrender before the first bomb was dropped, and the second was dropped out of scientific curiousity. That and the fire bombing of Tokyo were horrendous things to do. There is no justification for it. Japan was finished, even if it wouldn't surrender, it had lost the means to fight in any meaningful way.
    I will check sources, but I don't know of any serious surrender discussions before the 1st bomb. In Hirohito's writings he tells of being in his garden when a US bomber dropped leaflets warning that Tokyo was going to be bombed the next day. He new then that the war was lost, but it was more than a month before Hiroshima. According to my sources it wasn't until the second bomb that the Emperor offered "unconditional" surrender.

    Ending the war ASAP: There is a justification for the bombings of all of Japan's major cities (it may not be a great one, but it is a justification). And if Japan was finished militarily, but they still were killing allied soldiers and civillians daily. Entire suicide units were being organized to use planes, boats, subs, and any other means possible to kill the invading Americans. A plan to launch bombers from three large submarines to attack the Panama canal was in the works. The killing continued.

    I don't mean to minimize the suffering of the nation, but Japan continued to fight on well after any hope of winning was gone. Japan could have avoided the whole thing by not starting the war. They could have surrendered in 1943, or 1944, or earlier in 1945. It may have been meaningless, but Japan still had millions of soldiers, and still presented a significant threat. If Japan had not surrendered when it did, the US bombing campaign would have been stepped up, and the shelling of coastal areas by battleships would have began. Millions of Japanese soldiers and civillans stranded around the Pacific by the destruction of the Imperial Navy were starving.

    I'm certain that scientific curiosity played a role- why else did we choose previously untouched cities? Racism also played a role. I think in the Pacific we saw the Japanese people- the entire race- as the enemy unlike with Germany and Italy where it was Hitler, the Nazi's, and Mussolini that were the personification of the enemy. Checking the Soviet expansion was probably another reason.

    In 1945, my father was in Italy waiting to be redeployed for the invasion of Japan. My uncle was in the Pacific clearing caves and bunkers as an engineer. Three of my other uncles were in Japanese language school waiting to be deployed as interpreters. I doubt that all of them would have survived an invasion of Japan.

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    Help me out. I need a source on Japan seeking to surrender before the first A-bomb.

    What Bossel said about the ineffectiveness of the strategic bombing campaign in Germany is pretty persuasive.

    The firebombing of Tokyo and most of the rest of Japan began six months before Hiroshima.

    I will never say that bombing civillians is good, nor will I try to say that it was not horrific. I think it is too easy to place our comfortable modern perspectives on the decision to drop the bomb, and forget the terrible context in which horrific things seemed justified.

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    This article is pretty good:
    The Great Tokyo Air Raid - An Enormous War Crime
    By Hiroaki Sato, JapanTimes.co.jp 10-1-2
    http://www.rense.com/general29/asdi.htm

    "...one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of noncombatants in all history."
    Gen. Curtis LeMay, the man responsible for the bombing campaign.

    He also said "I am glad that we won the war...if we had not, I should be tried as a war criminal."

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabro
    I will check sources, but I don't know of any serious surrender discussions before the 1st bomb. In Hirohito's writings he tells of being in his garden when a US bomber dropped leaflets warning that Tokyo was going to be bombed the next day. He new then that the war was lost, but it was more than a month before Hiroshima. According to my sources it wasn't until the second bomb that the Emperor offered "unconditional" surrender.

    .
    Unnconditional surrender, maybe. But that dosn't mean that they wern't trying to surrender on slightly more favorable terms before that.

    Ending the war ASAP: There is a justification for the bombings of all of Japan's major cities (it may not be a great one, but it is a justification). And if Japan was finished militarily, but they still were killing allied soldiers and civillians daily. Entire suicide units were being organized to use planes, boats, subs, and any other means possible to kill the invading Americans. A plan to launch bombers from three large submarines to attack the Panama canal was in the works. The killing continued.
    Which justifies wiping out two cities? I notice that you only mention invading Americans, I take it you have forgotten about the British, Australian and Kiwi troops? And all the other nationalities involved?


    I don't mean to minimize the suffering of the nation, but Japan continued to fight on well after any hope of winning was gone. Japan could have avoided the whole thing by not starting the war. They could have surrendered in 1943, or 1944, or earlier in 1945. It may have been meaningless, but Japan still had millions of soldiers, and still presented a significant threat. If Japan had not surrendered when it did, the US bombing campaign would have been stepped up, and the shelling of coastal areas by battleships would have began. Millions of Japanese soldiers and civillans stranded around the Pacific by the destruction of the Imperial Navy were starving.
    However, the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima didn't start the war or seek to continue it. But they are the ones that suffered.

    How can an island nation without a navy be a significant threat to anyone? Given that the Allies had almost complete control of the air.

    In 1945, my father was in Italy waiting to be redeployed for the invasion of Japan. My uncle was in the Pacific clearing caves and bunkers as an engineer. Three of my other uncles were in Japanese language school waiting to be deployed as interpreters. I doubt that all of them would have survived an invasion of Japan
    Which is justification for nuking 2 cities? My fiancees grandfather faught in the pacific in WW2, and he is from Hiroshima. Her Grandmaother was there the day the bomb was dropped. Luckily enough they live far enough away from the main city for her not be affected (he was away fighting at the time).

    War is bad, but why is it justified that one group of people die so that another group don't have to? Would it be worse if your family members or my future family members were killed?

    And, strangly enough, Gaijin like me arn't to popular with my fiancees Grandfather. Even though I'm not American.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NagoyaIan
    Unnconditional surrender, maybe. But that dosn't mean that they wern't trying to surrender on slightly more favorable terms before that.



    Which justifies wiping out two cities? I notice that you only mention invading Americans, I take it you have forgotten about the British, Australian and Kiwi troops? And all the other nationalities involved?




    However, the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima didn't start the war or seek to continue it. But they are the ones that suffered.

    How can an island nation without a navy be a significant threat to anyone? Given that the Allies had almost complete control of the air.



    Which is justification for nuking 2 cities? My fiancees grandfather faught in the pacific in WW2, and he is from Hiroshima. Her Grandmaother was there the day the bomb was dropped. Luckily enough they live far enough away from the main city for her not be affected (he was away fighting at the time).

    War is bad, but why is it justified that one group of people die so that another group don't have to? Would it be worse if your family members or my future family members were killed?

    And, strangly enough, Gaijin like me arn't to popular with my fiancees Grandfather. Even though I'm not American.
    I appreciate your opinion. Although I disagree, I whole-heartedly embrace the sentiment. I hate the "ends justify the means" rationale. I wish I had something better.

    Significantly higher numbers of Japanese would have died had the A-bombs not been dropped. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of Japanese would have died in the next few months of that war. That bomb may have saved both of your fiance's grandparents. But that thought was probably never in Truman's mind.

    War is horrible. (Every one should stop. Civilllians should never be targeted) Truman had in his posession a device that could possibly end the war with little risk to any of his own people. To pursuade him to not use it because innocent enemy civillians would die is not entirely realistic. I think we always need to place the event into the proper historical perspective.

    Japan, even as an island nation, continued to be a threat even after the destruction of its navy and most of its cities. Although its people were starving, the economy was still geared to produce planes and bombs and bullets. Whatever they could get in the air, on the water, or across land was meant to inflict maximum casualties on the enemy. Japan still had in its control millions of Chinese who were suffering and hundreds of thousands of civillians from other countries as well as POW's. These people were being starved, beaten, overworked and killed. I'm not certain that the US would simply stop at the coast, declare victory and then go home. I'm not sure this is logical. The terms were unconditional.

    Although the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not start the war, their government did. This government willing entered into war and was the first to target civillians and to bomb areas indiscriminately. Even as the war turned, this government would not surrender and should bear most (but not all) of the blame for the suffering of their own people.

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    I understand the opposition to the "ends justify the means" theory (I don't necessarily subscribe to it either), but I'm not sure that there was an alternative to dropping the bombs. If there was, I'd like to know about it. From what I've read, Japan did not offer to surrender before the bombs were dropped, and even after the second one was dropped, there were those who wanted to continue fighting so that they could possibly surrender on better terms for Japan. The Japanese government refused the Potsdam Declaration, which would have ended the war, and the dropping of the second bomb is attributed to the lack of a prompt response by the Japanese government.

    It has seemed to me for a while now that the situation is analogous to one in the movie Crimson Tide, in which there is a leak in one of the submarine compartments, and the people trying to fix it get stuck in the room as it fills with water. It comes to a point where the decision has to be made to lock them in there and let them drown, or lose the enitre submarine and crew. Yeah, it's cruel and coldhearted, but what would you do? The anology may not hold up completely, but it seems to me to be valid for this discussion.

    My source for the historical facts is Kenneth G. Henshall's A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower.

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    Domo Arigato Glenn. I agree with you, and I kinda' get the analogy. However in your anology the decision is harder because you actually want to save the crewmen. They are not your enemy nor are they trying to harm you. If you want to get into the mindset of a war, you have to get into that kill or be killed survival mode. It may also help to convince yourself that your enemy is different, evil, or subhuman.

    My friend gave me the analogy of two boxers, one that is out on his feet, but refuses to give up. The ref doesn't stop the fight. Do you hit him again?

    About Truman's decision: When a nation's leader is at war shouldn't he consider the lives of his own citizens and soldiers more important than those of his enemy?

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    Well, a lot of that is at odds with what I have read, but I'd be hard pressed to find the sources. And it's quite an emotive issue, one on which it would be hard to change peoples minds. I know it would be almost impossible for someone to change my mindset on this topic. But I will say one thing, and thats that there was a element or racism involved. Basically, the Japanese were seen as less than human, and thus it was acceptable to do things to them that wouldn't have been done to Europeans.

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    I can agree with most of what you say. I have actually changed my mind on this topic twice- once after my HS history teacher had us write position papers on the bombing and then held a "Truman Trial." Although my paper condemned the bombing, I was selected as the chief defense attorney. I was so upset when I won. Through college and teaching history during the last 18 years, I have arrived at what I argued here. (But I hate it. Gandhi would not approve. Jesus would not have dropped the bomb.)

    Although I agree that racism played some role, I don't think Truman would have hesitated to incinerate a pair of german cities.

    We always have to remind ourselves how horrible it was (like the holocaust or rape of Nanking) and dig into how humans can do these things to each other. It helps keep us from repeating them.

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